While the New England Patriots pulled off a dominant win in Week 5, they will be without one of the driving forces behind their offense.
Damien Harris is expected to miss several games due to the hamstring injury he sustained in the win Tom Pelissero.
“Damien Harris is likely to miss several games after injuring a hamstring in Sunday’s win #lions, per source,” Pelissero tweeted. “I’m still getting tests but the expectation is he’s going to be out for a while.”
The running back got off to a bad start in the 2022 season. Despite putting on some impressive performances, Harris has only rushed for 257 yards for three touchdowns.
This is an important season for the running back as he enters the final year of his contract. That setback could cost the return whether he signs with New England or another team.
With Harris likely to miss several games, it means Rhamondre Stevenson will see a large amount of carries.
Stevenson had a great start to the season. While only reaching the end zone once, he has streaked 372 yards on the ground. That includes a fantastic game against the Lions in which he rushed for 161 yards.
The running back has the chance to assert his claim to the starting place. With Harris becoming a free agent at the end of the season, New England may choose the cheaper option in Stevenson.
Bill Belichick had plenty of praise for Stevenson after the win.
“You have to give him a lot of credit,” he said. “When Damien was out we only carried two backs for the game and he put everything on his shoulders and finished there with a couple of first downs on the four-minute offense at the end of the game. Yes, he is always good. He does a great job with the ball in his hands. He’s a strong runner, but he can make people miss him. He’s a really good footballer. Really good footballer. I’m so glad we have him.”
Without Harris, some newcomers have a better chance of getting some playing time. Pierre Strong is currently the only other running back on the active roster so fans should expect to see more of him. Kevin Harris is also on the practice team and could be boosted for the upcoming games.
New England could also promote JJ Taylor, who has some NFL experience. The running back has appeared in 11 games and has rushed for 147 yards and two touchdowns.
Following New England’s Week 5 shutout win, the Patriots rose in Bleacher Report’s power rankings. In Week 6, the Pats moved up from 24th to 20th place.
“It was an impressive overall performance that was sorely needed to keep New England from falling apart,” Bleacher Report said of the win. “Now, with back-to-back matchups against teams that have lost records, the Patriots have a chance to gain momentum.”